Eleanor Goldfield: Disunited States: Government Failure to Address Coronavirus is Sparking a Mutual Aid Revolution

A volunteer wearing protective gloves organizes pre-bagged food donations at a City Harvest's Bed-Stuy Mobile Market operating in the Tomkins Houses area, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City residents should be prepared for the possibility of a "shelter in place" order within days. De Blasio said Tuesday no decision had been made yet, but he wants city and state officials to make a decision within 48 hours given given the fast spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

As state and local authorities struggle and the federal government focus on saving Wall Street, a volunteer-driven mutual aid revolution is taking hold in disenfranchised communities across America.

I‘m not from DC, but I live here. I’m now a part of this living, breathing being that is a city. This city. It helps me to think of cities that way, even ones that I don’t fully feel at home in – like a body. And I’m like a blood transfusion. I know this isn’t my city, my body, but it’s where my life flows now, and so I best flow with it. This body holds me – it is my literal and figurative structure. I am one of the millions of cells rushing through the veins of this place, and although I’m a relative newcomer, I can feel that this body is not well. I can feel that familiar illness – it’s the same as any city I’ve ever lived in..

Every body is weakened and bowed under the weight of capitalism. Yet, there is a new illness – one that found a foothold in our immunocompromised bones and at the same time exposes the severity of that underlying sickness so old it’s etched in our souls.

Now, with the renewed vigor of a body on high alert, cells rush in symbiotic aid to save each other. A new fever awakens dormant fighters and engages new ones. The city pulses with ancient knowledge and emergent ideas.

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